Mick Jagger and girlfriend Marianne Faithful headed North to Wales today in 1967, to join The Beatles to study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who’s transcendental meditation was making him a bit of a rock star among rock stars. John, Paul, George, and Ringo held a press conference there announcing that they’d given up LSD and taken on the Maharishi as their official guru. It was George Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd who’d first discovered him at a lecture in London, by February The Beatles all would go to his “Ashram” in India, but most of them became disillusioned with him there, especially after he’d hit on actress Mia Farrow (the subject of John Lennon’s song Sexie Sadie, originally titled Maharishi, and changed at the urging of George) and the only famous graduates of the program were Mike Love of The Beach Boys, and oddly Mia’s younger sister Prudence Farrow (the subject of John’s song Dear Prudence).
Jimi Hendrix made his last appearance in England, the county that had made him famous, at the third Isle of Wight Festival today in 1970. The three-day festival that year also included Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Donovan, Jethro Tull (still playing with guitarist Tony Iommi, later of Black Sabbath), Miles Davis, Cactus, Family, Mungo Jerry, The Who, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Chicago, The Doors, The Moody Blues, Spirit, Procul Harum, Sly and the Family Stone, and Free. Tickets were a whopping £3.
Singer, songwriter, producer, and TV star Sonny Bono announced that he was running for mayor of Palm Springs California today in 1987. Sonny freely admitted that he had never even voted until age 52, but after exasperating troubles with local bureaucracy trying to open a restaurant there, and much to the horror of his fans who still closely adhered to the spirit of the 60’s, he had become a Republican. In ’92 he would run for the U.S. senate, but by then the party had become even more conservative, and he lost in the primary to Bruce Herschenhon, who in turn lost badly to Democrat Barbara Boxer (who’s still one of The Golden State’s two with Diane Feinstein). In ’94 he ran a successful campaign to become the U.S. House of Representatives in the strangely-gerrymandered 44th district, which runs from the Pacific Ocean at San Clemente (home to former President Richard Nixon’s “Western White House) all the way out into the desert communities of Palm Springs and Riverside. He served until his death in ’98 at age 62, when he suffered massive head injuries when he hit a tree while skiing at Heavenly Valley at Lake Tahoe, an accident that widely popularized the use of ski helmets.
Rolling Stone magazine published it’s first list of The Top 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time list today in 2003. Jimi Hendrix took the top spot, with the top 5 rounded out by Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, and Chuck Berry. Hendrix’s introductory piece was written by Pete Townsend of The Who, who was also on the list at #50. The list was updated in 2011, with positions shuffling and the inclusion of some who hadn’t been previously (Irish blues-rock guitarist Rory Gallagher, for example), and some being edged off (such as Kim Thayill from Seattle’s Soundgarden).
The Rolling Stones were at the O2 arena in London tonight in 2007, playing the last show of their A Bigger Bang tour, which had started a little over two years earlier with a surprise show at the tiny Phoenix Concert Theater in Toronto that had cost just the usual admission there of $10. Later shows on the tour would include a free show to some 2 million people on the Copacabana beach in Rio De Janiero and a halftime appearance at Super Bowl XL (which saw the Seattle Seahawks cheated out of victory by horrifically bad officiating, and the snubbing of the Seahawks guitar-playing defensive tackle Craig Terrill, who’d been dying to meet the Stones). They made some $560 million dollars on the tour, a then world record later broken by U2’s similarly long 360º tour.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Jet Black (real name Brian Duffy) is the drummer for British band The Stranglers, who though mostly associated with the punk rock movement of the late 70’s actually started in 1974, have stayed together ever since, and at 78 he is likely the oldest touring drummer alive.
Influential British space-rock band Hawkwind’s saxophone and flute player and singer Nik Turner is 76.
Twins Bob and Richard Cowsill are 67. Bob joined two of his older brothers in forming the band that would be the inspiration for TV’s The Partridge Family when they started in 1965, his twin brother (older by 15 minutes) was the only one of the 7 Cowsill kids to not join the band.